After a few years as a Japan-only dungeon crawler, Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk has, at last, made an appearance in the West. This bizarre adventure doesn't rely on a cast of classed characters trying to save the world, but rather centers on customization, goofy dialogue, and a lot of allied units to shuffle. Fortunately, the game gets you into its systems fairly slowly, so you won't be overwhelmed early on.

Nonetheless, here's a quick primer on how to begin in Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk.

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What is Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk?

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a first-person dungeon crawler that takes place in a mysterious, cursed labyrinth under the town of Refrain. The player character is a book owned by a witch that traverses the labyrinth, while the witch creates puppets to fight the creatures that attack them inside. For each delve into the dungeon, you'll assemble a team of these doll puppets for turn-based battles as you seek out the labyrinth's bosses, complete objectives, and try to stop the curse of the labyrinth. You'll revisit your witch friend every time you finish an objective, then assemble a new team and head back in.

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Assemble your team

Here are the different facets you can create in Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. Not all will be available right away, so you'll have to play through the different dungeons and levels in order to get access to the full roster.

  • Aster Knight - Aster Knights are perfect for the front line and do a large amount of damage, but they can be somewhat slow. They can survive critical damage one time only.
  • Shinobushi - Ninja-like fighters that use great speed, but can't take a hit very well...if the enemy lands one
  • Theatrical Star - A support class that's best in the rear of the party, inflicting status ailments and performing combos. They also heal every turn.
  • Peer Fortress - These are tough walls that can take hits for allies and heal when guarding. Use them up front or to protect fragile allies.
  • Marginal Maze - Can perform extra attacks and increase damage

Others come available later with more complex abilities:

  • Mad Raptor
  • Gothic Coppelia
  • Demon Reaper

Your team will get bigger and bigger the more you fight through the dungeon and the more the witch Dronya's powers expand. Eventually, you can have a maximum of 40 puppets on your team.

You can also customize each puppet's appearance, name, and other elements such as their nature and stat growth. Early on in the game, it doesn't matter too much how you customize these puppets. It's good to experiment and to work on a variety of different types of puppets so you can build your team the way you'd like. As long as you have a solid tank, damage dealer, and healer from the beginning, you can tackle most of the story's challenges.

What are Pacts?

Once you get back from your first delve into a dungeon and start crafting more puppets, you'll have to assign them each into one of four Pacts. Pacts are essentially groups that attack and move together in battle, a necessity in a game where you'll end up with a whopping total of 40 fighters. Rather than assigning individual actions to every single puppet in a turn, you'll command each Pact to act, and the strength and effects of each action will be determined based on the puppets assigned to the Pact. Multiple puppets are allowed to be part of a Pact at once, and that number will increase the more you progress.

You'll want to be smart about how you assign puppets to Pacts by taking into account strengths and weaknesses of puppet types. For example, a Peer Fortress would be a good choice for the Fighter Pact, and a Theatrical Star for the Healing Pact, but you might have trouble putting a squishy Theatrical Star into a tanking role.

Level up and gear up!

If you're struggling, just go back to the earlier areas of the dungeon and level up your puppets a bit. Labyrinth of Refrain can get challenging at points, but there's no point so difficult you can't go back to gain a bit more power before strong-arming your way through it. Though it's good to be smart about how you arrange your puppets for battle and which abilities you use, you can get away with making mistakes if you're leveled enough.

Other tips

  • In the settings menu, you can choose to automatically destroy low-quality items the instant you get them. This isn't recommended early in the game but later on it can be useful and save time.
  • Auto-buying parts tends to be more expensive than buying them at the market, so be careful
  • Get the Mud Exit skill as soon as it's available. It lets you return to where you left the dungeon, making exploration much faster
  • Don't be afraid to adjust the difficulty as needed if the monsters are too challenging.

Any questions?

Still stuck in Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk? Let me know in the comments and I'll try to help!

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